Become a Fellow
UC Berkeley’s Fung Fellowship is a unique impact-driven innovations program that teaches the skills you need to be an entrepreneur and change-maker. It’s a program that is grounded in industry partnerships, community collaborations, and valuing the unique skills that each fellow brings. Through the program, non-technical and technical fellows utilize the iterative human-centered design process, their majors’ specific skills, and emerging technology to create projects that impact communities.
Fung Fellows have access to leaders and opportunities in design, public health, conservation, and innovation. Not only will fellows gain skills and real-world experiences in these fields, they will make a real impact in communities for real people.
Applications are currently closed. We accept applications once per year. The Fung Fellowship application for the 2024-25 cohort for rising juniors and seniors will open in January 2024 and is due in March 2024 for Fall 2024 enrollment.
Information Sessions & Virtual Coffee Chats
Learn about the Fung Fellowship program and explore how health, conservation, tech, design, community, and social impact come together!
Hear directly from the current recruitment lead
15-minute Virtual Coffee Chats
Chat directly with a Fung Fellow—ask questions about the program, application process, and transitioning to UC Berkeley.
Watch info session recordings playlist:
Hear from a Fung Fellow alumnus
Nseke Ngilbus shares three reasons to apply to the Fung Fellowship.
Qualities that Unite Us
While we aim to cultivate a diverse cohort and community, we have several qualities that unite our fellows.
All of our fellows exemplify:
- Passion – Fellows are passionate about social impact, serving society, health, conservation, and/or design.
- Growth Mindset – Fellows are self-starters and demonstrate effort to expand their perspectives and skillsets.
Each fellow excels in one or more of the following areas:
- Taking Initiative to pursue a passion and actively engaging the work.
- Building Community and instilling community values.
- Playing and expressing themselves through creativity and a maker mindset.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a unique impact-driven innovations program that teaches the skills you need to be an entrepreneur and change-maker. It’s a program that is grounded in industry partnerships, community collaborations, and valuing the unique skills that each fellow brings. Through the program, Fung Fellows utilize the iterative human-centered design process, area specific principles, and emerging technology.
The Fung Fellowship has two tracks: Health + Innovation and Conservation + Innovation. Candidates can apply to the track that best aligns with their passion, interests, and desired area for impact. Learn more about the program by viewing recorded info sessions.
We accept applications from rising juniors and seniors at UC Berkeley, providing the opportunity to participate in the year-long program.
Applications for the 2024-25 cohort will open in January 2024 and are due in March 2024 for Fall 2024 enrollment.
Yes, we accept transfer students into our program and strongly encourage them to apply!
Yes! The Fung Fellowship is a partnership program with strong ties to the School of Public Health, Rausser College of Natural Resources, and College of Engineering, and allows you to apply the skills you’ve developed from ANY major–whether your major is business, math, rhetoric, or biology. Think beyond your major to what you really want to do. Do you like helping people? Do you want to learn the skills to start a business, work on a diverse team, and gain new perspectives? Do you value health and wellbeing? Are you passionate about the environment and conservation? Are you interested in emerging tech? If your answers are “Yes,” then you’re in the right place.
The Fung Fellowship course is a 3 unit project based course each semester. The units count toward any degree and meet specific requirements for some majors. These units fulfill two course requirements for the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation. In addition, you have access to experts in the field, opportunities for internships and conferences, and extra academic and professional support.
The first semester of the Fung Fellowship course (PH 188 and ESPM 150) counts for a “Design Skills” requirement and the second semester for each track counts for a “Advanced Design” course. This counts for 2 of the 4 required courses to complete the certificate! Find out more information about the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation.
We define “diversity” broadly to include identity, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and ability while expanding its meaning to include discipline, life experience, skills, perspective, and cognitive diversity. Additionally, we recognize the specific challenges facing students from particular demographic groups that have historically faced discrimination and marginalization, including but not limited to underrepresented minority students (particularly Black, Latinx, and Native students), students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, undocumented students, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, veterans, and first generation college students. We also recognize that diverse students bring a wide variety of strengths and cultural wealth that enrich our community. We recognize that diversity alone is not enough and that we also need to foster an inclusive and equitable community in which all our faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students belong and thrive. We believe diverse teams develop better solutions, especially as those solutions will be used by diverse stakeholders. This diversity of lived and learned thought and experience is essential to solve the complex challenges facing society. We also ground the project experience in human-centered design which builds mindsets and skills in empathy and equity. Our student teams are designing tech solutions for society’s most marginalized populations which makes this mindset imperative to the work.
We do not consider GPA when evaluating candidates for the program. Instead, we consider whether fellows have the capacity to truly engage and participate in the fellowship with their other commitments, and evaluate each candidate holistically.
That’s alright, most of our students don’t! We teach you the skills and provide the exposure you need to work in successful teams to innovate with technology-based solutions. This is not a program to transform you into a programmer or engineer, but leverage skill sets across student teams to develop impactful solutions to address public health or conservation challenges. Learn more about our fellows and their academic backgrounds.
Most of our students don’t! We will teach you the skills you need and provide the exposure you need to apply a public health framework and work with community organizations.
Many of our fellows have not worked directly in conservation! We will teach you the specific skills you need to address the overwhelming threats to our planet’s biodiversity. You will work closely with community and industry organizations to be part of the blend of expertise necessary to meet these pressing challenges.
We love English majors. View the major composition of our current fellows. We have a diverse range of majors, including Business Administration, Music, English, Political Science, interdisciplinary majors, and more!
Without going too deep, the program covers topics in human-centered design, teaming, and leadership. We expose our students to a variety of technical topics. Students with all backgrounds learn to work in interdisciplinary teams in an evolving innovation space.
Students work on a variety of projects based on student interests, partner organizations, and populations of focus. Topics have ranged from developing digital platforms to reduce social isolation for older adults to using emerging tech to improve childhood nutrition. View an example of some of our past projects from the 2019 Fung Fellowship Showcase. View an example of some of our past projects from the 2019 Fung Fellowship Showcase.
Example Conservation + Innovation Projects:
- Rainforest Connection (RFCx): How might we mine audio streams from sensor networks within tropical rainforests to better assess biodiversity? RFCx currently has the ability to detect illegal logging through its sensor networks, but how might they start identifying animal-specific audio signals in order to determine threatened species composition, abundance, and movement behaviors?
- Argos: This ground-breaking satellite tracking system for wildlife needs to reduce the cost of location transmitters and find solutions for wildlife researchers’ unique specifications in order to collect data on more endangered species.
Yes, both rising juniors and rising seniors are eligible to apply. If you applied last year as a rising junior, we welcome your application this year as a rising senior!
This program is exclusive to UC Berkeley students. Please consult the advisors at your university to learn about programs like ours in your ecosystem.
“The fellowship gave me a space to grow and try new things in a safe environment. The fellowship was the first academic environment where failure wasn’t a negative thing. I think that the fellowship made me braver? It certainly helped me especially as a transfer student because it got me involved in spaces I’m interested in but would’ve not found on such a big campus alone.”
– Erin Kraemer, Fung Fellow 2019-20